PALESTINE: Dispute slows disposal of food tainted by deadly bacteria
Posted: June 19th, 2012 - 12:44pm
Source: Ma’an News Agency
BETHLEHEM -- The governor of Bethlehem district is blocking a decision by the Palestinian Authority ministry of health to destroy tons of potentially dangerous food products.
The minister of health, Hani Abdeen, issued a decision Wednesday to incinerate 24 tons of fish found to be contaminated with listeria, a bacteria that kills an estimated 20 percent of people it infects.
Abdeen had scheduled to have the fish destroyed at 11 a.m. Thursday but the governor of Bethlehem, Abdul Fattah Hamayel, intervened and stopped the operation, a Ma'an correspondent observed.
"I don't know what the governor based his decision on," Abdeen told Ma'an. He maintains that his position as health minister grants him the authority to act in cases which threaten public safety.
Hamayel, the governor, said the listeria concerns were not new. The Palestinian Authority has destroyed contaminated fish in recent months upon a positive test confirming the presence of the bacteria, he said.
The governor said a lawyer for one of the suppliers which purchased the fish had secured an injunction from the court of first instance in Ramallah asking the Palestine Standards Institution for new tests.
Hamayel said he stopped Thursday's operation out of respect to the judiciary.